Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Bread


I love making Christmas bread which looks pretty and tasty. It will be great center piece for your Christmas meal. The store-bought frozen dough will do fine. Only part which is time consuming is making long rope and braiding them together. I made four Christmas bread since last weekend.
I made my first holiday bread for The Seattle Food Styling and Photography Group December Meetup. I wanted to create tasty good looking food.
I received a gift of Christmas wreath from a neighbor a while ago. It gave me an idea making the wreath bread. I made a milk bread dough, made long rope, braided it to make wreath. The baked wreath was decorated with cranberries, sugar frosting, and green sugar. It looked pretty and tasted good.
The second bread for my son’s class party was made of the bread dough using eggnog. Because eggnog is made of milk, cream, egg and sugar, I exchanged egg, milk, and sugar to eggnog only. The eggnog flavor was good. I made a small wreath and candy cane shapes from braided ropes.
The third time was for my neighbor to take to the school for her son. I made wreath bread with milk dough and decorated it with cherries and pineapples. I also shaped candy-cane bread and decorated with cranberries.
The forth wreath bread was for a teen Christmas party.
I am planning to make several more for parties and a gift to my friends.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Simple yet nice looks if the plate is right


I attended The Seattle Food Styling and photography group meetup on Sunday. I cut vegetables to make pretty shapes. I was in hurry to grab a plate and didn’t inspect it well. Unfortunately my black plate had scratches. All photos showed the imperfection when the light reflected to the surface of the plate. All 7 other photographers had the better camera than mine and the problem of the plate more likely shows in the photos of my dish. All my work to create nice looking food was spoiled by the imperfection of the plate. I failed the food styling at this time. Hopefully I can do the better job for the next time.
I recreated some of my vegetables and selected the better plate. My photo is OK but could be better.
<-- Check out this Italian YouTube video. Even though you don't speak Italian, you will learn how to make rose as I did.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The arm of a Tempura cook


This photo of my arm shows oil spattered burn spots. Hajime at Mashiko joked about an earlier time in his career, when his arm had burned marks which were cause from making Tempura. John said he had a similar experience and made his arm protection by cutting his long sock.
I often make Tempura at home in a regular frying pan, and I hardly ever burn my arm. The pan used at home is shallow, where as at Mashiko, I use a deep fryer. I dropped vegetables with Tempura batter a bit too high above the oil in the fryer from my nervous unsteady hand. This caused the oil to splash burn spots on my arm.
My husband told me that he had seen people’s arms like mine. He thought that the people were drug addicts, as they had burn marks on their arm similar to the ones on my arm. He was surprised to learn that maybe those people where really cooks working at a deep fryer instead of drug addicts like he thought.
I didn’t know that people with drug addiction problem had skin problems. I found some image of arms badly spotted by drug addiction. Hopefully soon I am able to fry Tempura without splashing oil. I should wear long sleeve shirts or cover my arm.
When you see someone with small blisters on one of his/her arms, it may be caused from splash from the deep fryer not from drug addiction.
<----The photo shows my potential arm protection. Left: Japanese farmer's arm cover, Right: Leg warmer

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Working at a Popular Sushi Restaurant

Can an experienced home cook survive working in a busy kitchen of popular Japanese restaurant?
After 3 days of work, I am doing fine and happy.
Two weeks ago, on Craigslists I found that the Sushi restaurant, “ Mashiko” in West Seattle was looking for a cook. It was a week after the advertisement was posted, but I decided to go Mashiko to see if I can get hired for the position. The worst case scenario would be that I didn’t get a job, and that I would be happy to meet and talk to the owner, Hajime.
I updated my resume for a cooking job. I packed up my cooking knife and my apron and headed to the “Mashiko”. I asked about the Craigslist job listing and if they found someone. Hajime met me and I spoke to him in Japanese for a while. It seemed that we had a similar idea about cooking and food.
He told me that they were testing some candidates that day, and asked me to come back at 4:00pm on Saturday to be tested. I left my resume with him. It seemed that I passed the first interview.
On Saturday, I brought my cooking knife and wore casual clothes for cooking. After I got there, Hajime told me that John in the kitchen would tell me what to do. John told me to help skewer chicken for Yakitori. Then he showed me how to cook rice, how to mix Sushi rice, how to prepare Tempura batter. I cut some vegetables for Tempura. John showed me how to fry Tempura. I mixed rice by adding Sushi vinegar with a large rice paddle and frying Tempura of various vegetables, shrimp, prawn, Sushi rolls, and brownies under John’s instructions. I washed pots and pans. At the end of the day, I helped clean the floors. I worked until past mid night.
I had expected a “cooking test”, i.e. a short time showing that I could cook. Hours later at the end of the evening of hard work, I was exhausted and I still didn’t know if I had passed the test. I didn’t know if I would be would be paid or asked to come back. Then, Hajime asked how the evening went, and I said it was hot, but I liked it. Hajime told me to write my name to a time-card and come to work the next Friday and Saturday. I was happy to have my time-card and the ability to return to work.
Friday came and I was still anxious. I got to Mashiko at 3:00pm as Hajime requested. Under John’s instructions and supervision, I mixed Sushi rice, checked fish, cut vegetables and cooked Tempura. John told me to cook faster and make more Tempura for each vegetable tempura order. It was hard work but I managed to work through the day. I helped clean up and I was done working before mid night.
On Saturday, John told me to set up my Tempura station then to cook rice. Rice was measured and put in the very large container. I set up my work station and started cooking rice as he instructed the previous day. I made Sushi rice and fried Tempura. The hardest work was to move a large container full of Sushi rice. It was very heavy. Carrying a heavy wooden sushi mixing container to the sink was also hard. I carried it with outstretched arms to the sink while walking around various obstacles. Cooking requires a strong body and muscles.
I confirmed with Hajime that I would be back to work next Friday and Saturday, I told him that at the end of my third day of work, that I was not as tired as the first two days.
So I managed to complete 3 days of work with only a couple of minor mistakes, including almost dropping container full of Sushi rice, and a mixed up an order. I look forward in learning much more about Mashiko’s way of cooking. I think that my Tempura does not look as good as John’s, and I need to learn to cook faster. The work is hard but I love cooking and it is fun working with John and Pablo in the kitchen. . Check out my future blog posts to find out what will happen to me at Mashiko’s.

The following video was produced by Christopher Boffoli for the West Seattle Blog Mashiko Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Concession stands in America and Japan



I helped a small concession stand at a public sport field in West Seattle during marching bands’ performance. This concession stand was for a fund raising event for Seattle All City Band. I doubted to make much money by selling food.
The menu was very simple. Menu included 3 types of Pizza, hot dogs, chili dogs, and popcorn. Chips and candies were also sold. Vitamin drinks, pops and water was the choice of drink. The Pizza was picked up from takeout place near by and kept warm in the clear show case. Hot dog was steaming in the warmer. Large canned Chili was emptied to be warmed up in the large pot. Popcorn making machine was popping corn kernels. Drinks were cooled in the large buckets full of ice. I stationed at the hot dog area. Pizza was sold more than hot dogs or chili dogs. The most popular item was popcorn. Because of the price, customers bought a large bag of popcorn for 1 dollar while chili dog cost 4 dollars. I was surprised to see many items and drinks were sold.
Here I thought about Japanese concession stand at the baseball stadium in Japan. I found website of Nagoya Dome where residents of Nagoya often to go to see Japanese baseball games. The link shows the photos of the concession stands and food sold.
The stands at Nagoya Dome sells, Tama Ben or Ball box lunch, snacks, pudding(Dragon and koala bear together named Doara Purin) , and shaved ice called gut’s ice. It seems that hot dogs and pizza are not there. Most Tama-ben contains cooked rice according to Japanese description. The names of the Bento box are very interesting. Strike Bento, Full base Home run Bento, Sports Bento are the examples.
How about American ones? I found a blog “Where to find the best baseball stadium food” (http://blog.ratestogo.com/baseball-stadium-food/) The baseball stadium food seems to be Hot dogs, fries, Sandwiches, Cotton candies, and other American’s favorite meals .
If you have an opportunity to go to Japan, it may be interesting to go see a baseball game and check out the concession stand there.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cold Soba Japanese Noodle Soup


In Japan, it is hot and humid in summer. The shirts stick to the body with sweat if you stay outside too long. People in Japan love to have cold noodles in hot summer day. They have cold Udon, cold Hiyamugi(thin white noodle), cold Soumen noodles(Very thin white noodle) and Soba or buckwheat noodles. I happened to teach how to make Japanese Cold buckwheat or Soba noodle soup. My American students seemed that they had never tried cold noodle soup before. They were not sure what it was. I went to buy ingredients with them while I described what we were buying.
After we got their parents house, I demonstrated how to make soup and how to boil noodles. The soup and the noodles cooled down, I served them a small bowl of cold noodle soup. They loved it.
I also showed how to make Tempura. Japanese people love Tempura with their noodles. Cooking Tempura is hot and sweaty while they are very delicious and gives you energy.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ruth Reichl food bloggers’ event

video
It is bit late but I participated the food blogger’s event to meet Ruth Reichl last week. I like to thank you to Karen Brown from Frantic Foodie to organize and invite me to this event. I got there late. I managed to take a short video clip Ruth answering a question from Seattle Times Food Writer Nancy Leson from All You Can Eat. Unfortunately I didn’t get whole questions and the video was not really good. I posted the raw video to this blog.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Brown Rice Sushi rolls

I was invited to a birthday party for my vegetarian friend. I told that I would bring Sushi rolls.
I was going to make California rolls and Vegetarian rolls filled with teriyaki marinated Tofu, Avocado and Cucumber. I decided to add another Sushi rolls even healthier than others from something found in my kitchen cabinets.
I cooked some Nishiki Brown rice and made Sushi rice as the same way as medium grain white rice. The cooked brown rice was not as sticky as white Calrose rice. Sushi rolls using Brown rice have to be wrapped to hold content together. Nori seems not to taste good with brown rice as white rice. I decided to use Soy wrappers instead of Nori.
When I tasted brown Sushi rice, it seems to be good with beans. I found canned black beans and washed, drained and mixed some with Sushi rice. How about fillings? I was going to use cheddar cheese. I added canned Mexican chilies and avocado. This Sushi transformed like American-Mexican wrapped sandwich and tasted like one.
I created several brown Sushi rolls with various color soy wrappers and brought to the party. The brown rice Sushi roll was popular and several guests asked what I used to wrap and what kinds of fillings I used for. Especially a lady who was born in India told me she doesn’t like Sushi used Nori but she loved brown rice Sushi rolls.
I forgot taking photos of the Sushi and there are no pictures for this Sushi. I plan to test to make them look and taste better next time and take photos to add to this blog.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Taste of Sushi rolls


Fillings of Sushi rolls can be any vegetables, meat, fish, and etc. The sushi rolls with vegetables are healthy and looks pretty but the taste is not satisfactory.
California rolls look good and delicious. How California rolls were invented who was the creator? Searching internet, I found the history of California rolls at SushiEncyclopedia, wikipedia, SushiBar.com ( This site has a lot of information and good recipes.) and New York Times. Sushi Chef, Ichiro Mashita, at Kyoto Kaikan invented California rolls in the 70’s. California Sushi rolls were the first fusion Sushi which was made by adding American ingredients into Traditional Japanese Sushi. Before the California sushi rolls, Sushi was made of only Japanese ingredients.
The chef had difficulty finding fresh Toro which is the fattest part of Tuna and started experimented with avocado. American people have never eaten raw fish 70’s. Some Americans are disgusted an idea of eating raw fish. Chef Mashita used avocado for its oily texture to substitute fatty texture of Toro and Imitation crab for its fresh taste of fish. The imitation crab’s official name is crab flavored imitation crab cake and is made of steamed white fish with crab juice and red coloring to make look like real crab.
American people didn’t like texture, color and taste of sea weed, Nori in Japanese. California rolls are made in-side out, Uramaki in Japanese, to hide Nori inside of the rice.
California roll seems to be the derivation of Tekkamaki which is Toro filled Nori-Maki, Nori rolled in Japanese, Sushi rolls.
The first California roll fillings consist of only Avocado and Imitation crab. The first California roll fillings consist of only Avocado and Imitation crab. Later Julianne cucumber and Mayonnaise were added to the fillings.
If this is the formula to select successful fillings for Sushi roll, the filling selections will be a fatty and rich ingredient for texture, a ingredient to substitute fresh seafood flavor, and cucumber or to neutralize. Cucumber may not be necessary because new Sushi eaters don’t consider Avocado as overpowering aroma. Mayonnaise also can be optional but enhance the taste of low quality imitation crab.
Considering Seattle Sushi roll, the fillings are cream cheese, smoked salmon, and cucumber.(I am not sure cucumber part.) Yes. The formula applies to the Seattle roll.
There is a disturbing fact. It was about the inventor of California Sushi roll. He must have been a very competent and talented Sushi chef. He was the pioneer of American Sushi culture. Unfortunately he went to jail and died there.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Face Sushi


Sushi rolling is fun. My sons and I made face Sushi rolls on weekend.
You don't have to be a chef to make Sushi rolls. The ingredients are cooked Calrose rice, Sushi vinegar, Nori or sea weed, and any delicious ingredients such as cream cheese, vegetables and cooked meats or fish, whatever you like to roll it. Bamboo Sushi mat is the tool you like to have for easy Sushi rolling. It cost around $1.50 at Japanese grocery store.
I will give free California roll class including demonstration at Seattle public libraries. I hope inspired cooks at home come to join me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring Sushi rolls


I made flower Sushi rolls of Spring. Rose Sushi roll turned out to look nice.
I am going to teach Sushi roll class May 9th Saturday 10:00am at Asian Counseling and Referral Services. This class will be the introductory class and make basic rolls such as California roll and Seattle roll. However, the student may bring their own ingredient and make their unique Sushi roll.
For those who don't have money but like to learn about Sushi roll making.
I have free class at Seattle public library Columbia branch on April 9th (Mon) 6:00Pm-California rolls What? and How?
Making Sushi roll is fun. You can use your artistic talent to create delicious and pretty Sushi rolls. These pretty Sushi is called "Kazari Maki Zushi" or Decorating Sushi Rolls.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Interesting Japanese Video "Asagohan"

My friend send email of this video link.
I love it. I had to share this.
Asagohan means breakfast in Japanese.

Japanese words from this video.
Gohan means cooked rice or used as meal in Japanese. Asagohan is made of two words ,Asa(Morning) and Gohan(Meal). Hirugohan is made of two words, Hiru(afternoon) and gohan(meal).

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Evolution of recipes

<--Brownies recipe from my Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book First Edition by McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc and General Mills, Inc.

Last week I cooked Japanese Soba noodle soup to serve at Club Bamboo. This lunch was very popular and all noodle soup was sold out. The fellow Japanese cook decided to make chicken Soba noodle which may not be common at Soba noodle restaurants in Japan. In Japan generally the soba noodle soup is served along with Tempura or simple condiments. The ethnic cuisine changes depending on the location where it is served and people who eat. The first year when I came to Seattle, I had problem eating Mexican food. I didn’t like its cheesy taste and tortillas. Before coming to Seattle I never had Mexican food. After twenty years living in Seattle, my taste preference has changed. I love Mexican food as well as Pizza while I still love Japanese and other Asian food.
The recipe of Japanese traditional meals has changed over the time. One example is Udon noodle soup. I made Udon soup from 20 years old Japanese cook book. The soup was very salty and soup was very dark brown. Popular and the best Udon soup was made from current Japanese recipe with some modification. It was quite different one from age old recipe. It was less salty and looks delicious.
For American recipes, many good old hearty meals in old recipe book are no longer in new recipe book. People are busy yet like to eat healthy meals at home. Many cookbooks include recipes for light and quick meals. No more raw eggs in the recipe. Some people are allergic to specific food and require special diet. Some prefer only plant-based food. There are so many choices of cook books such as vegetarian, low carbohydrate, low fat, no wheat, no dairy diet and so on.
US being multi cultural country, many ethnic recipes have been brought to United State. World became smaller, it is easy to obtain ingredients from other country. Authentic ingredients have been adopted and added into American cooking. Many more recipes have been developed and tested. Author of recipe books have too many choices and naturally unhealthy, time-consuming, and highly technical recipes will be out of consideration.
We, who love cooking delicious meals at home, have to test out various recipes finding out which one fits our family’s taste bud. Although recipes of old comfy food may not be included in healthy food cookbook, Internet helps me finding any recipes.
I still use my favorite cook books for specific recipes. The result is always delicious and no leftovers. Some recipes are never out dated.
The photo above is Brownies recipe from Betty Crocker’s Picture cook Book First Edition.There are 264 Brownies recipes at BettyCrocker.com.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Japanese Home-style cooking for Seattleites?


People who are not familiar with Japanese cuisines may think Japanese food is expensive and Japanese people often eat Sushi , Teriyaki, Tempura and Sukiyaki. People in Japan eat fancy Sushi with fresh fish only special occasions. Japanese love variety of food. They eat not only Japanese but more international meals like people in Seattle. Chinese, Korean, and Italian food are popular and have evolved to meet taste of Japanese. For example, you may find pasta cooked with fish eggs, Shiso(Japanese herb) and Soy source at restaurants specialized pasta in Japan. Japanese people love Chinese dishes and pot stickers are one of Japanese favorite. I bought a Japanese cookbook about various Pot sticker recipes. In Japan, most wives stay home and one of their jobs is to cook for her family within the budget. The family eats at home most of the time and family meals at home are different from ones at the restaurants. My mother used to be very creative to cook supper for her family of four when she didn’t have much money on the day before her husband’s pay-day. Once she cooked Tempura made of dried anchovies (usually used for Japanese soup stock) with vegetables whatever she found in the fridge or her garden. It was tasty and nutritious although it was made of leftovers and didn’t make me feel poor.
It may be hard for someone from foreign country to experience Japanese home cooked meal unless you have Japanese friend who invites you to their home or their parents’ home in Japan. I love to introduce Seattleite how to make inexpensive home style Japanese food and incorporate into their home cooking. Other day, I visited to a community center nearby my house asked if I can teach Japanese home-style cooking class. Two of employees at the center were very interested in the class. I was asked to create and send proposal include budget, my fee and recipes for the class. He suggested series of classes instead of one. I considered relatively easy to make, inexpensive and/or well know Japanese dishes. Also I consider nutritiously balanced menus. Here are menus which I proposed:
Proposed menu
Class1 Rice, Miso soup, Chicken Teriyaki, and salad
Class2 Chicken Donburi and Sunomono(Sweet and sour vegetables)
Class3 Japanese Curried Rice using curry sauce
Class4 Sushi rolls (Possible Vegetalian)
Class5 Rice balls and baked Chicken
Class6 Chicken Udon Noodle soup
Class7 Tempura(some Vegetarian)
Class8 Delicious Vegetarian Japanese dishes
I proposed to buy common ingredients before starting the first class to be used throughout classes include Calrose rice, Soy source, Rice vinegar and sea salt. The estimate budget of these costs $75. Then buy fresh ingredients for the each class at the day of the class. The estimate budget of these costs $35/class. It will serve 6-8 people.
I was going to include Sukiyaki and Katsu. I eliminated Sukiyaki because it requires so many ingredients and beef will use up most of the budget. Katsu will be OK but I include Tempura over Katsu.
I am going to bring this idea to various community centers and senior centers. Hopefully I start sharing my knowledge of Japanese cooking to Seattleites who love to cook soon.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mc Mansions


Uploaded on authorSTREAM by danielbretzke
This blog was posted by co-owner of this blog, Daniel, accidentally instead of his real estate blog. I decided to leave this posting although this is not food blog. (FumikoB)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Irish Soda Bread


I made loaves of Irish soda bread from BBC website. I loved the results and friends who tried approved its taste. The bread was delicious with butter. However, Karen who is from Ireland told me it is wheaten bread not soda bread. According to her, north and south of Ireland people make soda bread differently.
I found a website about Irish soda bread: http://www.sodabread.us/
Real Irish may not call this soda bread. Still I like this recipe. Here is the recipe website :
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A23502908

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Gaspar's Cooking class and dinner

My neighbor friend, Yami, took me to Gaspar's cooking class and full course dinner in Tuesday evening. Gaspar’s is the construction company specializing design/build/remodel houses. The attendants of the class were the employees, friends and their customers. The class was held at Gaspar’s office. There is a model kitchen installed in the office to show their customers appliances and building materials Gaspar’s use for their construction business.
When Yami and I entered to the Gaspar’s office, we were asked if we like to have red or white wine. I asked for red and Yami for white. The chef and instructor of the class was Incredible chef, Karen Rosenzweig ,(See http://www.incrediblechef.com/index.html) who is personnel chef. Karen offered us appetizer to start. It was baked Brie with Caramel with Walnuts or with cranberries served with crackers and slices of apples. The appetizer was very rich and delicious. She showed us how to prepare it. I already tried this appetizer recipe with my first home made puff pastry and brought it to the Irish dinner party. Every one who tasted it loved it very much. I thank Karen for this recipe.
After the instruction of this delicious appetizer, we learned about energy efficient and high BTU stove with the grill on the top. The next lesson was how to cook the entrée, baked chicken with tomatoes, olives and Mushrooms, Herbed couscous, and Grilled Zucchini with Feta and Mint. While we wait the dishes were ready to be served, we learned about the rest of the kitchen appliances, lighting, and environment friendly building materials. Karen grilled zucchini on the stove top grill and fry and baked the chicken using the stove and the oven installed at Gaspar’s.
Finally it was the dessert time! The dessert was old fashioned-shortbread. Karen showed how quickly the tasty short bread was prepared. We had hot freshly baked short bread. It was very tender and buttery bread. We could not resist several servings. I will try this recipe soon.
Karen was very knowledgeable and a good teacher. I liked her style of teaching and cooking.
I appreciate Gaspar’s and Yami who provided me a great time and opportunity to experience full course dinner with valuable cooking instructions from professional chef.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Japanese Breakfast Menu

<----Photo left doesn't include some dishes mentioned in the blog. This is my favorite simple Japanese Vegetarian breakfast.
I love Japanese breakfast. I was thrilled to be asked to create a Japanese breakfast menu. Japanese breakfast includes a lot of vegetables, fish, eggs, meats (bacon or ham), rice and Miso soup. I thought there should be choice of fish, meats, or vegetarian. The vegetable dishes on side can be the same in three menu items if they don’t contain any meat. I selected four vegetable dishes, the cooked spinach marinated with sweet sesame sauce, Nimono which is vegetables cooked in Japanese stock, fresh salad, and Tsukemono which is Japanese pickled vegetables. I included fresh fruit. The plate will be crowded with small portion of these things, choice of main dish, rice and Miso soup. Also I added Children plate as another menu item. Most children may not like Miso soup but rice balls and Bacon. I included these items and changed some of vegetables for Children’s plate.
My complete menu may not be used at the restaurant which asked me about Japanese breakfast menu. However, I enjoyed thinking and write down about what Seattleite will like in their Japanese breakfast and what I can introduce someone who have never been to Japan and try out something new. Japanese breakfast items above is very close what you find at Hotels in Japan and hopefully Seattleites try out these food and start eating Japanese breakfast.
My another blog about Breakfast is found:
http://fumikob-foodtalk.blogspot.com/2008/03/is-breakfast-most-important-meal-of-day.html

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cooking project at St. Clouds


St. Clouds’ owners organize many volunteers to cook for homeless people once a month. (See St. Clouds website) I went to join February’s homeless cooking project. I was surprised to see so many volunteers cutting, chopping, and grilling vegetables and fruit, mixing seasoning for baked meats, making dessert and washing dishes. I met my neighbors and some people who came from Bellevue and Burien. A lady told me that she has been doing this for two years. I met high school and middle students who are in Spring break.
John Platt who is one of the owners of St. Clouds determines what to cook based on the food donations and instructs volunteers what to do. The results was full course menu which include salad made of spinach with cherry tomato and pear, roasted asparagus, Baked Mexican spiced pork and chicken, apple custard tart, and chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. I was very impressed! All food was completed and packed and labeled to be carried away around 1:00PM to the 4 homeless shelters. I had exciting experience working together with many volunteers to cook nice meals. These meals will not only fill the stomachs of hungry people but also make them warm.

Last year I worked for JohnP to help cooking for two public schools found raising auction dinner. Please read my two blogs :
My experience working at a commercial kitchen
Garfield high school Auction dinner

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

VietnameseChicken Rice Soup



I decided to cook Vietnamese Chicken Rice soup for Teacher’s appreciation lunch at my son’s middle school. The soup is called congee in English. I saw how Congee was made at Club bamboo at ACRS and loved the taste and thought it is perfect to add to Teacher’s lunch menu. I searched the congee recipe which uses the same ingredients, ginger, lemongrass and chicken. I found it in Allrecipes.com.
Please see the site: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Vietnamese-Chicken-and-Long-Grain-Rice-Congee/Detail.aspx
The recipe looks good. However, I had to think how to bring the soup to keep it warm for teachers during 3 lunch periods. I neither wanted to carry boiling hot soup in the car nor half-way heated soup. I got an idea. Here is how I prepared and served the soup safe, hot and delicious.
The day before the lunch I cooked the chicken soup stock as the recipe, and cool it down quickly in shallow pan surrounded with ice. I remove the bone and separate the chicken meat to cool quickly, and stored cooled soup and the meat in the refrigerator. At the day, I cooked a small amount of rice with the some of the chicken soup and cool the rice. I chopped cilantro, lime, and chives. I carried all of cooked ingredients and condiments into the cooler with ice. Slow cooker will require too much time to heat up the content so I brought a large pot and Chinese portable gas burner.
My method worked well. The burner heated up soup quickly and I added cooked rice and chicken.
The teachers were happy to have this warm unusual Asian soup in addition to tasty bagels, salad, lasagna, and sweets. I loved the compliment from some of the teachers about the soup. The recipe was great and produced the superior soup. I like to thank to the owner of the original congee recipe.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chinese New Years and other Celebrations




Last week, there were several celebrations. The first was the Chinese New Year’s day on January 26th. My favorite Tofu Company took this day off although Seattle international district seems to be quiet. Employees at ACRS celebrated New Year’s party for lunch. The club bamboo staff members helped cooking some Chinese dishes in addition to our duties cooking for seniors.
People celebrate the special occasion by sharing food with families and friends. Japanese celebrate New Years Day eating special food. For example, we have Black beans which pronounce KURO-MAME and MAME means healthy and eggs which is yellow (gold) and white (silver) and they are lucky color. Unfortunately I didn’t have an opportunity to ask someone at ARCS about special Chinese or Vietnamese New Year’s Day food.
On Wednesday, Rosita who is my fellow kitchen staff had a party to share her happiness to obtain her green card. Although I was not volunteering the day, I attended her celebration by accepting her invitation. Rosita was very happy surrounded by her favorite colleagues and her nephew.
On Thursday an employee of ARCS brought special Vietnamese dishes for kitchen staffs. The food was steamed dish made of rice flour, jacama, and etc and cooled and decorated with colorful toppings. It was served with sweet fish sauce and salad. They were very delicious. Please see photos of this pretty dish.
I think I gained my weight this week by having many delicious treats.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Seattle food blogger’s at Vermillion




My husband and I went to my first Seattle food blogger’s event held at Vermillion of Capital hill which is very nice art gallery with bar and restaurant. I brought home-made California rolls and Tempura. I met fellow members of Seattle foodies and exchange our business cards. We had a lovely time talking about food, blogs, and etc. Karen Brown who organized events asked us to vote for bar food contests and most of us got some prize for our snack food. I received Strangest bar Snack prize for my California rolls, The Greek Gods Yogurt. I look at Japanese bar food recipes. It is true that Sushi is not listed in the book. Tempura is in the book though.
I posted three photos in this blog, our bar food, Vermillion Sample menus, and my photo with Greek Gods yogurt guy. He told me he was from Greece and surely he was speaking in some other language to other Greek Gods worker. This was taken at Seattle Women’s show at Quest field last spring and I never had opportunity to use it.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sushi-Making Week


Since last Saturday until this Saturday, I made Sushi 4 times.
On last Saturday I taught 4 students how to make Sushi rolls. They made a California roll, a Seattle roll, and a Japanese roll. They were happy to take home their Sushi for their family. They told me they had a great time producing nice looking Sushi rolls and their family loved them.
Tuesday, at ARCS’s club bamboo I showed fellow assistant cooks how to make California rolls and tuna salad rolls. Although I failed to cook rice correctly and rice was hard, the customers at Club bamboo seemed to like Sushi served with Miso soup and spicy Nappa cabbage salad. One of fellow assistant cooks told me that her husband loves Sushi and she will make some for him soon. Another told me that she learned the reason why Japanese restaurant charges so much for food. It is because Japanese dishes uses so many ingredients and requires a lot of work. I admit that there are many ingredients on my kitchen counter when I make Japanese food.
Wednesday, my friend asked me to make 3 Japanese rolls, 2 Seattle rolls, and 12 pieces of Inari Sushi. Inari Sushi is made of Sushi rice stuffed in deep fried Tofu pouches. I finished all Sushi and brought to my friend’s house around 11:30am. The most of the guests were Japanese wives and they loved my Japanese Sushi and Inari Sushi. I was happy to please these Japanese ladies.
Today, on Saturday, I made Japanese Sushi rolls for Japanese school’s New Year’s potluck and Seattle rolls for my husband’s friend’s moving party.
My family had to eat Sushi after my class and to take Tuesday’s lunch. I think we eat Sushi more often than my parents who live in Japan. Generally speaking, Japanese people eat Sushi for special occasions such as family gatherings and serving for special guest. Some Seattleite loves Japanese food and they buy Sushi at grocery store and have it once a week.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Japanese Curried Rice at ACRS

At ACRS again, Chef Alice was nice to assign me to cook Japanese curry with rice on Tuesday’s lunch. I brought two boxes of curry sauce mix from home. I was planning to make usual my Japanese curry which includes meat, onion, carrot, and potatoes. However, Chef Alice had a better idea. Ground beef and eggplant curry! The curry tasted better than my usual one and looks good with tomatoes and green peas. Unfortunately I didn’t take photos of curry. Alice even prepared nice cucumber salad with Miso dressing and mandarin orange served with curried rice.
Here is the recipe.

Ingredients
I lb Ground beef
3 cloves of garlic
1 large onion
3 Chinese or Japanese eggplants
3 cups of Water (Add less for thick and more for soupy curry.)
¼ cup Frozen green peas
1 tomato
1 box of Japanese curry sauce mix 7oz (Or you can fry curry powder and flour in butter and add chicken broth. You need to adjust thickness and taste. By using sauce mix, you can make tasty curry easily.)
Cooked Japanese rice(Calrose )

Cooking Instructions
1. Peel, cut half onion and make them thin slices.
2. Peel , and mince garlic
3. Cut eggplant halt vertically and slice them to a half inch thickness
4. Heat frying pan and add oil
5. Fry onion until they are transparent and caramel colored. Do not burn.
6. Take onion out and add more oil and fry eggplant. I fried them until well-done. However, since the eggplants will be cooked in the soup, you can quick fry the eggplant.
7. Take eggplants out and fry ground beef with garlic
8. Heat stew pot with 3 cups of water and add cooked onion, eggplants, and ground beef.
9. Boil it and take out dark bubbles floating the surface to the soup.
10. Cook until eggplants are done.
11. Turn heat very low and add curry sauce mix into the soup.
12. Stir until the sauce mix is completely melted.
13. Cook low heat for 20 minutes or more. Stir as necessary.
14. Slice tomato and add them and frozen peas into the curry and cook for 5 minutes.
15. The curry is ready to be served. Serve the curry over the steamed rice.